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Oliver v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division

November 20, 2017

PATRICK WILLIAM OLIVER, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [1]

          PHILIP R. LAMMENS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff appeals the administrative decision denying his applications for Disability Insurance Benefits “DIB” and Supplemental Security Income “SSI”. Upon a review of the record, the memoranda, and the applicable law, I recommend that the Commissioner's decision be affirmed.

         I. Background

         For the sake of convenience, the administrative history, which is not in dispute, is copied from the Government's brief:

Plaintiff applied for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) on February 18, 2013, alleging disability beginning January 1, 2008 (Tr. 213-21, 233). The Commissioner denied the applications initially and on reconsideration (Tr. 129-46, 148-65). After a hearing (Tr. 28-66), an administrative law judge (ALJ) found that Plaintiff was not disabled (Tr. 11-27). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision (Tr. 1-7). The Commissioner's final decision is now subject to judicial review. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3).

(Doc. 21, p. 1).

         At the time of the ALJ's decision, Plaintiff was 47 years of age. (Tr. 233). Plaintiff has an eighth grade education, and past relevant work as a foreman for a utility company, and as a locator for a telecommunications company. (Tr. 62, 236, 239). Plaintiff alleged disability due to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), “cracked skull, ” headaches, facial injuries, broken back, back pain, memory loss, hip pain, depression, and neck pain. (Tr. 41-47, 237).

         Based on a review of the record, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: history of compression fracture with degenerative disease of the lumbar spine, scoliosis, cervical spondylosis, TMJ with history of facial fracture, alcohol abuse, depression, anxiety, and headaches. (Tr. 16). The ALJ found that Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform less than the full range of light work. The ALJ found:

[The claimant] can occasionally climb ramps/stairs, kneel, crouch, crawl, stoop, and balance; never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; avoid concentrated exposure to hazards; and have no more than moderate exposure to noise. He would be limited to performing simple, routine, repetitive tasks; could have no contact with the public; only occasional contact with co-workers and supervisors; and he would be limited to routine changes, which were non-production oriented.

(Tr. 18).

         Based upon this RFC, and considering the testimony of the vocational expert, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is capable of performing jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy, such as mail sorter, parts cleaner, and retail marker. (Tr. 23). Accordingly, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff is not disabled. (Tr. 23).

         II. Standard of Review

         A claimant is entitled to disability benefits when he or she is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to either result in death or last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months. 42 U.S.C. §§416(i)(1), 423(d)(1)(A); 20 C.F.R. §404.1505(a).

         The Commissioner has established a five-step sequential analysis for evaluating a claim of disability, which is by now well-known and otherwise set forth in the ALJ's decision. See 20 CFR §§ 404.1520(a), 416.920(a); see also Doughty v. Apfel, 245 F.3d 1274, 1278 (11th Cir. 2001). The claimant, of course, bears the burden of persuasion through step four and, ...


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